Grain became an important commodity in the 1880s as the railway made it possible to transport bulk shipments, and Fenelon Falls became an active local terminal. Joseph McArthur and William Webster formed a partnership to deal in grain in October 18851 [FFG 17 Oct 1885; 2]. When the partners “found themselves without a suitable building” they rented a site on the south side of the railway track opposite the railway station, where they commenced the construction of a 50×26 foot grain storehouse [FFG 17 Oct 1885; 2]. The new building was finished on October 21st, 1885, “but it was far enough advanced on Tuesday [20 Oct 1885] to hold grain, several loads of which were purchased and stowed away for shipment. The storehouse will hold 10,000 bushels, and stands on thirty strong posts about four feet above the ground, so as to bring its floor on a level with the floors of the cars…” [FFG 24 Oct 1885; 2]. The firm’s financial transactions were made “at Mr. [Richard] Butler’s store.” The partnership lasted until 1887, as it vanishes from D&B after September of that year.
Joseph McArthur and William Webster were also involved in other business activities. They took possession of the Fenelon Falls Tannery on January 20th, 1886 and purchased the stock of leather etc. from Mr. McKone, the previous tenant. “A first class tanner is to be at once engaged and placed in charge…” [FFG 23 Jan 1886 ; 2]. All was lost on the Saturday/Sunday night of August 21st/22nd, 1886 as the tannery, situated on the north part of the village, burnt to the ground [FFG 27 Aug 1886; 1].
There is a 31 year-old William Webster listed in the 1890 Census of Fenelon Township as a “Baptist drover and cattle buyer.”
482 The October 3rd [1885; 3] issue of the Gazette suggests that Webster and R.M. Butler may have formed an earlier partnership, while McArthur was dealing on his own. Butler’s store was where the farmers were paid once the new partnership had formed. The issue of October 17th [p. 2] announces McArthur and Webster’s “intention to buy grain this winter.”
483 There is another William Webster in the 1890 Fenelon Census listed as a 41 year-old blacksmith.